This past Sunday, my Mum and I braved the Melbourne winter chill in search of some ethically sourced, handmade, environmentally friendly and vegan goodies and we were NOT disappointed. The Boho Luxe Market 'Winter Wanderlust', at Federation Square in Melbourne CBD, was full to bursting with free spirits, environmental warriors, yogis and a collective of folks looking to put a better energy out in the universe by choosing socially conscious retailers to support. We arrived early to make sure we got our hot little hands on one of the free goodie bags for the first 100 shoppers, right from the moment we walked into the Atrium, the atmosphere was buzzing. Stall holders and shoppers we excited, chatting animatedly and sharing friendly, warm vibes; kids were welcomed and involved in conversations and everyone was just so lovely to each other. The seasonal markets run by Boho Luxe will definitely be a permanent feature on my shopping calendar; if you missed 'Winter Wanderlust', don't fret, the 'Spring Festival' hits Fed Square on October 8th. If I went over all the stall holders that attended on Sunday, this would be a book rather than a blog post, I did make some purchases from a few retailers that caught my eye though so this post will be a run down on the brands that made me reach into my wallet.
The first would definitely have to be The Wayfaring Stranger, TWSco founder Jeremy was so passionate and excited talking to us about his line of natural grooming products for men and the underlying focus on mental health awareness amount young men in rural Australian farming communities, that I couldn't help but want to buy something from him. The animated way he described the products, right down to the styling of the packaging (which is based of the aesthetics of whiskey bottles and mint tins and has a real old bar feel).
I decided on the aftershave balm because the faithful husband shaves his head every week and likes a little sheen when he's done. It has a subtle, clean scent and comes packaged in a gorgeous copper mint-tin style case. The aroma won't compete with any cologne that men might want to apply afterwards either, simply enhance it, I think. I will do a full product review on this purchase soon, after hubby has had a chance to give it a good testing. Happily, Jeremy also agreed to answer a few questions for me about TWSco so keep an eye out for that post.
The second brand that I really connected with was I AM THAT YOGA. I struck up a warm conversation with one of the founders, Sebastien, and found that the ethos of 'Yoga is for everyone' was ingrained in his personality and well as the fabric of the company. During our chat Sebastien spoke of wanting to change the perception that yoga classes are only for the experienced yogi and that practitioners of all levels are not only welcome in their Collingwood studio, but actively encouraged to come along and find 'their yoga'. As someone who has only practiced at home myself and who is usually the embarrassed student hiding at the back of any sort of class (so as few people see my mistakes as possible), I felt a tremendous urge to hug him and say thank you, even though I haven't attended a class yet.
I AM THAT describes themselves as an 'inclusive yoga brand', based on the idea that 'yoga is a way of life rather than just a practice' or form of exercise. As well as their studio, I AM THAT have designed the Alignment mat which is made from recycled cork. Cork is naturally antibacterial, does not absorb moisture and cannot grow mold so is generally seen as an incredibly hygienic material, it's also quite grippy so when you're getting all sweaty from your hot yoga, you won't be slipping and sliding off your mat. The mats feature 2 beautiful central designs and alignment guides so that you can focus more on being present in your practice and less on where your hands and feet 'should' be.
My gorgeous Mum bought me the Luxury Natural Cork Alignment Mat to help me with the management of my chronic illness (bless her), and we also picked up a stunning copper water bottle which is supposed to have all sorts of great health benefits (more on that in a later post). I'll be taking advantage of the great $13 drop in price and attending a class soon, I'd splurge on a membership but Collingwood isn't exactly my local.
Last, but certainly not least, is The Spice Maze. This one was a surprise for me as I am an enthusiastic coffee drinker, you know, the kind you don't speak to until they've devoured their first coffee of the day; BUT as we strolled by The Spice Maze stall, the gorgeous aroma of chai just smacked me in the face and I had to stop and taste the glorious concoction. Usually, I drink a chai latte so the fact that I enjoyed a black, unsweetened chai tea is testament to how delicious their original blend is. It was subtle, yet spicy and warm and relaxing and I just wanted more.
Then as I chatted with the friendly merchant, I noticed a raspberry red concoction, strongly reminiscent of red cordial. I've had some NASTY experiences with blackberry tea and the smell strongly reminds me of a house with too many cats locked in it (cat wee is pungent) so fruity blends aren't really my cup of tea. *see what I did there? But I braved the horrific memories and gave it a try and you know what, it almost tasted like red cordial; all that was missing was the sugar rush. I was informed that the 'Forrest Fruits' blend included licorice root which is often used as a muscle relaxant and stress reducer and hibiscus which can assist in the reduction of anxiety and help with hypertension, both of which I suffer from. Honestly, I quite liked the taste too.
The lovely folks at The Spice Maze set me up with a tin each of their Chai tea and Forrest Fruits tea, along with a glass tea-pot and infuser and my new best friend, the Tea Man, as my kids have taken to calling him. I've been drinking the Chai throughout the day and I love it, but the biggest shock for me was that for last nights I had 2 cups of the Forrest Fruits in the evening and was so relaxed I slept like a ... well, not like a baby, like a husband. We'll see if it's a fluke or a placebo effect soon enough, for now though, I am one happy customer.
Honestly, if I'd had an entire day and an unlimited amount of money I could have cleaned out every stall at the market. There were so many beautiful designs and products on display but buying just for the sake of it isn't a hugely responsible way to live so I reigned myself in. I can say, without hesitation, that there was something there for everyone and if there is something you need to put in your calendar heading into the Christmas shopping season, it's definitely the Boho Luxe Market. Thanks for spending time with us and keep an eye out for our posts on The Wayfaring Stranger and I AM THAT YOGA.
Until then, live consciously and make everyday amazing.